Kinshasa overview

Kinshasa is the Capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo with the trio distinction of being the country’s capital, Africa’s third largest urban city after Cairo and Lagos and the largest Francophone city after Paris. The city is located on the southern bank of the Congo River and is home to about 10 million people.

Notable as the venue of the historic 1974 boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali tagged the “Rumble in the Jungle”, the city has gone through various phases and has had its name change at least twice, from Léopoldville to Zaire then Kinshasa.

A sprawling, confusing but colourful city separated from its neighbouring Capital city Brazzaville by the River Congo, Kinshasa is a sort of New York in Central Africa—being a business and entertainment hub.

Kinshasa has a Tropical wet and dry climate, with lengthy rainy season between October and May, and a relatively short dry season, stuck between June and September. A distinct feature of this city is that its dry season is slightly cooler than wet season, though temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year.

Officially, Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois (French) or Kinshasans (English), while French is the lingua franca; serving as the language of government and commerce. The local language popularly used on the street is Lingala.

The city is predominately Christian, with Islam and traditional beliefs maintaining relatively low presence.

Kinshasa’s heart is its Central Market. It is a lively place teeming with energy where almost everything one could need can be bought from the crowded stalls. There are a number of interesting sites which visitors must see whilst in the city.

must see in Kinshasa

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Kinshasa is a place where nature has kept its beauty unspoiled, it is surrounded by rural areas with tropical jungles and rare animals. The city welcomes you to its Museum, the Great Art Market, the tomb of the former president Laurent Kabila and the Musical Centre which are all must-sees! Visit the Académie des Beaux Arts which is home to many of Africa’s better painters. Explore its rich gallery of local art, where you may be lucky to meet some artists and learn about their work first-hand; you can also purchase some great works on display. If you miss the Académie, don’t miss the Kinshasa’s vast open-air market—Le Marché des Valeurs, it is a place you go shopping for handicrafts such as textiles, food, and daily necessities, feel free to bargain here. For sports enthusiast, the national stadium, Stade des Matyrs, situated in Kinshasa is a place to visit too. Just some distance outside Kinshasa is the Chutes de Lukia which everyone visiting Kinshasa must see. It is a chain of lakes with natural lakes that are good for swimming, a decent restaurant, and a bonobo (pygmy chimp) orphanage that allows visitors to play with the small chimps; you can rent some equipment here too.

Food and Drinks in Kinshasa

Kinshasa has loads of restaurants, supermarkets and cafes that accommodate local and foreign tastes. Bananas, oranges and larges prawns are popular; but the staple here is the Manioc from which popular dishes such as foufou and chikwange are made. Alcohol is popular; liquor and beer are generally consumed in the city, so is palm wine—a locally fermented sap of palm trees, which is more or less the city’s signature drink.

Top 3 things to do in Kinshasa

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